a series of black and white photography shots of students in a number of areas


Place: Spaces, Environments, Design

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Architecture and the Built Environment
One year
Programme leader:
Mike Devereux and

David Littlefield

Key fact:
Are you looking to develop a career in designing, interpreting, curating or investigating interior or exterior places? If you have a first degree in the arts, design, humanities or social sciences, this Masters programme will help you take that interest into professionally applicable practice.

Page last updated 7 November 2017


From cities, towns and heritage sites, to museums, galleries and shopping centres: all places are unique. They have stories to tell and are influenced by a wide range of forces - cultural, historical, legal, aesthetic, social and more.

Many of us are helping to shape these, making decisions as professionals on whether to preserve, enhance or change them. Others are influencing places more subtly by writing, campaigning or carrying out art practice in them. But how do we capture and interpret the genius loci - or sense of place - that is essential to our relationship with the cities.

Why study our course?

Our MA Place: Spaces, Environments, Design is designed for graduates of arts, design, humanities and social sciences who want to specialise in understanding and reacting to places so they can take this forward into successful practice.

You will investigate, question and discover places, and develop your thinking so you are able to shape them effectively in all dimensions. You will cover responses from legal and archival, to literature, art and archaeology, theoretical and poetic and develop your own responses.

Real world experience

You will consider and assess real world problems and learn from visiting professionals and academics in studio and at lectures and reviews. And you will visit and critically evaluate a variety of places on regular field trips.

Where it can take you

Your specialism will be valued by those working and commissioning work in the cities. In combination with your undergraduate degree, the MA Place: Spaces, Environments, Design will give you an attractive portfolio of learning. So you will be equipped to develop a successful career, whether working on your own or in a professional team.



The full masters course comprises 180 credits divided into three 60 credits stages: Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, and Masters. You will be required to work incrementally through the three stages and must pass all modules at each stage in order to progress to the next.

The course is made up of four modules:

  • The City: Scale and Media (30 credits) investigates the ways in which we understand places, often ones we have never visited, from sources such as literature, art, film and data.
  • Praxis (30 credits) explores methods and techniques of managing, interpreting and curating places through visits to a diverse range of organisations/custodians such as cultural institutions, heritage sites, land owners, property developers and designers.
  • Design Studio (60 credits) asks you to produce a considered and designed response (eg film, exhibition, artwork) to a given site working in a tutored studio environment.
  • Dissertation (60 credits) is the opportunity for you to undertake a piece of academic research that explores a chosen place related topic in detail. There might be the chance to work closely with place related organisations to develop the theme for study and to carry out the research.   

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

You will learn through working closely with expert staff, visiting professionals and fellow students. Learning in the design studios forms the largest proportion of credit over the year. In these, you will develop informed designed responses - both individually and as part of a team.

Alongside working in our well-equipped studios, you will study modules that are based around formal lectures, seminars, workshops and demonstrations.

For more details see our glossary of teaching and learning terms.

This degree culminates in a design proposal: this could be an urban intervention, an exhibition, a film, or anything suitable for communicating your understanding and creative response to place. This is accompanied by a piece of critical writing in an area of specific interest to you.

This course is designed to suit those from a wide range of undergraduate degrees. The common interest in developing a deep understanding of 'place' is what brings our students together. We strongly believe that the perception of place and our responses to it are better informed by collaboration and joint learning amongst all like-minded staff and students.


You will be assessed through a combination of techniques including individual and group design proposals, presentations, a logbook and written outputs including a dissertation.

Design outputs are varied and can range from an architectural proposal to an installation, curated set of photos or interactive digital resources. The exact nature of the output is discussed with tutors so it integrates with your undergraduate degree and preference for communicating your ideas.

For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms.



You will go on approximately six study visits, so you can apply new learning by analysing a wide range of places.

Study visits might include a city authority, private consultancies, heritage sites, shopping centre or design practice - and will involve a mix of exterior and interior places. We also arrange a residential field trip, where you can apply greater depth to your analysis. Visits can be in the UK and abroad.

As well as assessing these visits and places in your logbook, you will share thinking, findings and experiences through presentations and design responses for key agencies.

Study facilities

You will apply new concepts and create outputs in our modern, well-equipped facilities and award-winning design studios.

  • Access industry-leading resources for computing, photography, CAD and printing.
  • Develop ideas, models and presentation techniques in state-of-the-art workshops with experienced technicians on hand to help.
  • Learn and develop your presentation skills in modern lecture rooms with sophisticated software facilities.
  • Research and study using our well-equipped library and wide range of digital resources.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.

Experience of practice

We have designed the MA Place: Spaces, Environments, Design so that you can visit a variety of practices during the course of the programme. You will hear from professionals involved in investigating and creating place. This will give you an excellent understanding of the range of practices involved, and will develop your network of place related contacts for furthering your career.


Careers / Further study

On completing the course, you will be able to bring extra insight to your chosen career path - giving your work greater precision and depth and enhancing your prospects. You will also fine-tune your undergraduate degree for a range of specialisms.

Career development will vary depending on the nature of your undergraduate degree.

With a degree in built environment fields, you may choose to explore careers that involve interpretation of the city or building scale.

If you have an arts or humanities background, this may be your first opportunity to formally study the nature of place, and you may want to go on to write about place or create art based outputs related to it.

Irrespective of your first degree, this MA will deepen and enhance careers in place-related disciplines, and enrich the understanding of those whose careers inform or are informed by the nature of place, for example: curation, writing and education.


Full time course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Award Fee7000
Home/EU-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)583
International-Full Time-Award Fee12500
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1042
Offshore-Full Time-Award Fee12500
Offshore-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit) 1042

Supplementary fee information

Further information about fees and funding


Entry requirements

We normally require an honours degree of 2.2 or above. In your statement you should demonstrate your aptitude and/or potential for design and visual communication. In addition you may be required to provide a portfolio or attend an interview.

We can consider applicants who do not meet the normal entry requirement, but who have relevant professional experience or qualifications. In your application, you should describe in detail your professional experience and qualifications.

UWE Bristol's International College
International students who do not meet the academic or English language requirements to study this course can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.

For further information

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